Ballance tips day one in England’s favour

Gary Ballance
Gary Ballance
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

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Centurion Gary Ballance has been tasked with building on England’s encouraging start to the third Test with India.

The Yorkshire batsman hit a fine 104 not out as England reached 247 for two to hold the upper hand on day one at the Ageas Bowl.

It was a third Test century for Ballance, who has been one of the major success stories of a troubled summer for England so far.

And skipper Alastair Cook praised his team-mate.

Cook said: ‘He looks like he bats the same way in every innings.

‘He adjusts to the conditions and then finds his way. It’s very impressive.

‘When he first came on tour with us, he was quite a nervous character but he has found his feet and his place in the dressing room.

‘He has settled really well and looks a mighty fine player.

‘To be at 247 for two is a good day for English cricket.

‘We have to earn the right again in the morning and then go big.

‘Hopefully, we can build on what we have done on day one.

‘It’s a good wicket to bat on at the moment, it is quite evenly-paced and I think it will get slightly quicker for a little bit.’

While Ballance is a relative newcomer to Test cricket, he looks to have sewn up his position at number three in the batting order after succeeding Jonathan Trott.

Cook said: ‘When we made that decision that Gaz was going to bat at three and replace Trotty, it was a big call because he bats at five for Yorkshire.

‘But it is a very sound technique and he doesn’t change that much. He has a method and sticks to it.’